After more than two years of beta, GeForce Now is finally officially available. Nvidia’s streaming gaming service is located somewhere between Stadia and Shadow in terms of functionality. The principle is as follows: GeForce Now allows you to stream games you already own through a client available on multiple platforms.
In comparison, Stadia is asking to acquire the games on its platform, in a very limited catalogue for the moment. As for Shadow, like GeForce Now, you can enjoy the games you already own, but with a complete PC in the cloud. GeForce Now is limited to providing streaming access to games via a simplified client, no more.
GeForce Now is available now for Mac, PC, Shield TV and Android. He will also make his hole on the Chromebooks during the year. Unfortunately, the service does not appear on iOS (and therefore not on Apple TV) where it would be very relevant. When we asked why GeForce Now was missing from iOS, Nvidia told us that it was a question to be addressed to Apple, without further clarification.
It’s probably the rules of the App Store that pose the problem. However, Valve managed to get Steam Link validated, not without difficulty, and Shadow is also present in the App Store But some rules seem to be problematic for GeForce Now, such as specifying that remote desktop clients should only connect to a user-owned host device (and the GeForce Now client connects to Nvidia’s servers), or prohibiting interfaces that resemble an application store. As things stand, you can’t expect GeForce Now on iOS – Stadia and xCloud face the same pitfalls.
GeForce Now Client on Mac
The pricing, which was the big unknown until now, Nvidia having experimented with several models during the beta, is as follows:
Free access :
- standard access
- game sessions of up to one hour
Founders subscription at 5,49 €/month (without commitment – promotional rate for the first year) :
- priority access
- extended gaming sessions
- RTX compatibility (ray tracing)
- 90 days free trial
What both offers have in common is that you play in 1080p at 60 frames per second at best and you have access to the service on all compatible platforms. Those who participated in the beta automatically move on to the free formula.
In view of its restrictions, free access is mainly used to check whether the service works well at home. For one thing, we can’t play for more than an hour straight. On the other hand, access is not necessarily immediate.
In order not to overload its servers and to deliver a good experience to all, Nvidia limits accesses according to its capacities at time T. Founders customers have (logically) priority over others. It is not yet known what the average waiting time for free users will be. In any case, it should be more important in the evenings and at weekends, when the connection peaks.
Note also that for paying subscribers, Nvidia does not talk about unlimited game sessions, but “extended”. We’re talking about a maximum of six hours, which should be fine in most cases – at worst, it will force the most addicted to take a break to fill their stomachs.
” GeForce Now is an open platform for PC games that doesn’t require you to create an account on a new store “, says Nvidia, who tackles the Stadia pass.
It’s a great way to play the games you own on these platforms – all you have to do is sign up your Steam, Uplay, or Battle.net account to GeForce Now and you can play the games you own on these platforms. Even if you don’t own any games, it’s much cheaper to buy them on Steam than on Stadia’s shop.
However, it is important to note that GeForce Now does not support all Steam/Uplay/Battle.net games. Compatible games are themselves divided into two categories:
- 300 to 400 games optimized for the service: they are pre-installed on the servers and automatically configured and updated, one click is all it takes to launch them.
- more than 1,000 compatible games: you have to install them manually (the Steam interface will appear) and adjust their parameters if necessary.
When a game is not natively supported by GeForce Now, it must be installed manually through Steam (this is the only case that Windows remembers). In this case, Bayonetta is not compatible.
In the end, the catalogue of compatible games is incomparable with Stadia, but it is not exhaustive. My attempts to add games have resulted in many failures: Bayonetta, PES 2020, The Binding of Isaac Hotline Miami, Mark of the Ninja, Super Meat Boy… The Epic Games Store is also missing, which is becoming more and more important in the market.
Nvidia indicates that there are several factors that explain the absence of certain titles. This may be related to commercial issues as well as technical reasons. The absence of Red Dead Redemption 2 on GeForce Now is probably due to its presence on Stadia.
Before starting, it is therefore necessary to use the service’s Search Engine to check whether a particular title is supported. Otherwise, players are invited to indicate the games they want to see supported.
In the end, when it comes to compatible games, GeForce Now does much better than Stadia, but not as well as Shadow, which allows you to truly play any PC game.
As with other streaming gaming services, a good internet connection is required for a satisfying experience. To play in 720p at 60 fps, a minimum of 15 Mbps is required. For 1080p at 60 fps, at least 30 Mbps.
Unlike Stadia and Shadow, GeForce Now doesn’t offer 4K at the moment, but that may come later this year.
I’ve mainly tried the service on Mac and on Shield TV, in both cases connected by Ethernet and fiber. Under these conditions, which are ideal (all the more so as the service was not yet open to the public), magic works.
It feels as if the games are being played locally, on a big bike, as they run so well: it’s fluid, responsive and beautiful. In fact, if you really pay attention, the picture is not as detailed as if the game was running locally, but in the heat of the moment, it’s a bit of an illusion. What’s more, GeForce Now is responsive enough for a title as edgy as Doom 2016.
In Wi-Fi, the experience takes a blow (I tested in Wi-Fi 5 in 5 GHz, always with a fiber connection). With the default setting that seeks the best balance between image quality and smoothness, the smoothness is always excellent, but the image is quite poor. The video compression is then very clearly visible.
There are options to help you save data (average consumption of 4 GB per hour, compared to 10 GB in balanced mode), improve fluidity (up to 120 fps) or define the various parameters yourself.
All in all, GeForce Now seems like a good solution to try streaming gaming. The service is both more immediate and cheaper than Shadow and Stadia.
However, making GeForce Now its primary way to play is still questionable. Although the number of compatible games is quite large, there are big gaps. We’ll also have to see if the service is holding up now that it’s open to everyone – one of the questions about this is the waiting time for players.
Anyway, if you’ve always watched your friends on the PC play a lot of spectacular titles with envy (and you’ve got the guts), try GeForce Now. This is the most accessible streaming gaming service available today.